Google recently announced that they will switch their free shopping search to a paid model. While this has implications for all online retailers, alcohol retailers are going to be hit especially hard.
Wineries, breweries, or any company that sells alcohol online will no longer even be allowed to list their products in Google Shopping. Google’s decision to exclude alcohol is puzzling, but it does line up with their already restrictive advertising policies. Currently alcohol get a “non-family safe” status which means less impressions and no display ads even if just the landing page has alcohol on it.
One would think Google would want the extra revenue from clicks on alcohol products, but because Google approves ads and is responsible for what gets “advertised” on their site maybe they feel like they could be held liable if a minor orders alcohol?
Whatever the case, online alcohol retailers are going to have their work cut out for them in 2012.